Proja is a traditional Serbian cornbread that used to be a staple among Serbian peasants. Today it’s a family favourite among many Balkan homes. We like to eat proja freshly baked out of the oven as a part of a breakfast brunch or as a side dish served alongside things like prebranac. When eaten for breakfast, we usually serve it with yoghurt, soft cheese, ajvar, tomatoes and the like. Each family has its own version and in this blog post I’m sharing my mom’s, which is, if you ask me, the very best 💛
What is Proja?
If you love bread and you’d like to experiment with a new cousine, then Proja is the thing to try. Proja is a traditional Serbian cornbread that has been served for centuries. I think that by now, every family has their own family recipe and way of making it, just as we do!
Other than consisting of cornflour, you’ll find ingredients such as all-purpose flour, eggs, and sparkling water which is a key ingredient and makes the dough more airy and fluffy. Usually, some kind of white cheese or feta cheese is added to the dough, but this can be omitted. In terms of it’s consistency, Proja is not like a loaf of bread as per se, but more like a dense cake, without being sweet!
How do you eat Proja?
Proja is usually served in square cubes with various toppings and side components, which makes it kind of like a tapas arrangement and is therefore also one of my favorite comfort foods!
We usually eat it for breakfast straight out of the oven, where it is served with;
- Various spreads, especially kajmak or ajvar
- Chopped veggies like tomatoes and bell peppers and spring onions
- Meat (if you eat that)
Besides, it’s typically served with a drinkable yogurt or kefir.
However, proja can also be enjoyed as a side dish. In our family we would then serve it with a serbian meal called Prebranac.
Proja – Serbian Cornbread
- 4 eggs
- 400 ml milk (3 šoljice)
- 200 ml sunflower oil (1 ½ šoljice)
- 200 ml sparkling water ( 1 ½ šoljice)
- 200 g feta cheese / white cheese
- 200 g fine cornflour (3 šoljice)
- 250 g wheat flour (3 šoljice)
- 15-20 g baking powder
- some additional salt
- Preheat the oven to 200° (392 F)
- Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients (milk, sparkling water, and oil) and mix it all quickly together. Then, crumble some feta cheese and stir it lightly into the dough.
- In another bowl, add and mix the dry ingredients (cornflour, all purpose flour, baking powder, and a little bit of salt).
- Now add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and give it all a good stir. Whisk or stir until you’re left with a homogeneous, runny, and bubbly consistency without any lumps in the dough.
- Add a little sunflower oil to your baking dish of choice and sprinkle and dust a little flour all over the dish, until it is coated very lightly.
- Pour the mixture into the square baking dish (our measures 27cm x 17 cm) previously greased.
- Bake for 20 minutes and then have a look at the proja. If it’s getting way too dark too quickly, you can lower the oven temperature to 180° and bake for 10-20 additional minutes.
- After 30 minutes of baking, insert a toothpick into the proja. If it is dry, it is fully baked. If not, continue baking for 5 minutes. You’ll know that it’s close to being done when the top is golden and kind of caramelized.
- Cut the proja into 8 cm (3-inch) squares to serve.
- Eat it straight away as a breakfast served with yogurt, soft cheeses, ajvar, and some fresh greens, or enjoy it as a side dish alongside with dishes like prebranac and the like.
How did you like the recipe? Let me know if you found the recipe helpful and if you have any comments or questions, do not hesitate to leave them in the comment section.
Thank you for being you.